Reggae crooner Beres Hammond and dancehall hitmaker Popcaan sent chills down the spines of many by performing their God Is Love single for the Love From A Distance livestream concert, and earlier this week delivered the full project, which included the visuals of the two entertainers interacting in, and outside of the studio. It is one of the few songs that exposes the spiritual side of Popcaan, and, according to his mother, “that is not surprising to me, as it may be to the public for he is a spiritual person”.
Rhona Johnston, known by the entertainer’s fans as ‘Miss Rhona’, told The Sunday Gleaner, “First and foremost, give thanks. All honour and glory belongs to the Lord. You are going to hear amen and might hear hallelujah, because I want to give God thanks for really inspiring my son to do a song of this nature.”
She continued, “And I want to give thanks for Beres Hammond, who is a legend, to collaborate with him on the song, that is giving praise especially in these times; for the producer Shane Brown, for making the rhythm that is the framework for the song. I also pray he will try to do more songs like this for all ages to listen to.”
A devout Christian and pastor, Miss Rhona shares that the Andre Sutherland the world has come to know, who is always referencing her, if not in his music then in social media posts, most times teasing about her Christian beliefs, was raised in the church and that is where he started performing.
“Andre, he grow with his grandmother, who is also a pastor, in country. So, he had to go to church. He had started singing in the church on the choir,” she said. “To be honest, I rather him to be a Christian doing gospel, but when they reach adult age, me as a mother I cannot tell my children what to do. I can say don’t do this and don’t do that but he, especially, is not going to listen. One thing I do remind him is that whatever he does, it comes from God, so make sure He is involved and that you give Him thanks and do not do anything that will grieve the spirit of Almighty God that will take away your blessings.”
Miss Rhona talked very passionately about her son and the work he is doing but also pointed out that, in listening to the new single, persons should pay keen attention to the words of the song.
She said, “Don’t look at him as the individual, pull strength from what he is saying. The mere fact he calls himself the ‘Unruly Boss’ a lot of people brand him that way, but to see the disciplined man that Beres is, he is being steered in the right direction.”
She expressed that while most of the songs in Popcaan’s catalogue is not fit for her ears, God Is Love is not the first or the only one she listens to, “I like We Pray with Dre Island and Family.”
“I am a proud mother knowing that he did a song I can put on my television when I come home from church and listen to, saying God is love, because ‘For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish’, to Him be the glory,” Miss Rhona shared before expressing praise in the spiritual gift of tongues. When she returned to speaking, she said, “Put your trust in Him, He will direct you. Every morning I wake and declare it in the realm of the spirit my five children will serve the Lord. I know God is going to draw him and even now, God is conditioning him but because of his rebellious attitude he is not paying attention.”
Troublesome and deep-thinker are two words used to describe her son, but Miss Rhona admits that the dancehall artiste is a reflection of her.
“I think he has a lot of my nature; I am a little troublesome at times too but he knows when it comes to God, I don’t play around. I am a devoted woman of God. There are some songs playing sometimes, if I go into the streets of downtown and hear them, I have to run and he teases me but that is how he always is,” she shared.
In 2019, Popcaan surprised his mother with a trip to Jerusalem to visit the official tomb of Jesus and last year as an Easter Sunday gift, he attended a church service where she was leading the prayers.
Miss Rhona lamented that she was not part of the music video for God Is Love, though Popcaan sings, ‘A me seh family, Miss Rhona pray fi me, nuh evilous nor envious cannot devour me. Stay far from poverty, Jah rule me destiny,’ as an ode to her religious beliefs and teachings, and it is because she had church on the day scenes for the music video were being recorded.
“It had to happen without me. When I was in the world, I enjoyed the music of Beres. I continue to admire and love the humility he displays. I wasn’t brought up in the church but my mother always told me about God and send us to Sunday school, and from the age of 10 there was a calling on my life, where God is concerned,” she said. “I am not one who went into church and got saved so, I will say to Andre to ‘give your life to the Lord’ and he will answer, ‘when me give Jesus me life weh me a guh do’. The Bible says ‘what does it render unto a man to gain the whole world’ because there is a heaven and a hell and if one does not repent, they will end up in hell. But when God is ready you have to move and I continue to give thanks to God for guiding him.”